Immanuel -- God with Us
1 1 Selected Messages p285.
2 Review and Herald. 09.04.1900.
3 5 Bible Commentary p1127.
4 Review and Herald. 07.05.1887. 09.04.1900. Signs of the Times. 02.27.1893.
5 5 Bible Commentary p1127.
6 Signs of the Times. 05.30.1895.
7 That I May Know Him p48.
8 Counsels on Health p498.
9 Matthew 4:24.
10 Lift Him Up p89.
11 Ibid p89.
12 The Desire of Ages p528.
13 That I May Know Him p48.
14 John 11:25.
15 The Desire of Ages p530.
16 Ibid. It was Christ’s own victory over sin and death that gave Him the right to resurrect fallen (though repentant and forgiven) human beings, even though His own sacrifice and complete victory were still to come. At the tomb of Lazarus, the keys were in His hand. In His own death, He would “earn the power (or the right)” to take men and women from the enemy’s hands, but even now He has that power. 3 Spirit of Prophecy p192. The word ‘power’ can be used two ways. One means ‘the actual ability or power to do something’, the other means ‘the right or authority to do it’. Christ’s own resurrection gave Him the legal right. The resurrection of Lazarus “set the seal of God (the legal right) on His work and on His claim to divinity.” Desire of Ages p529. Our Saviour had the ability because He is the Lifegiver.
17 Ibid p534.
18 John 11:35.
19 The Desire of Ages p534.
20 Ibid p535.
21 John 11:39.
22 The Desire of Ages p535.
23 Ibid p535.536.
24 John 11:43.
25 The Desire of ages p536.
27 Manuscript Release 20 p242.
A KEY IN HIS HAND
As man’s Representative and Example, Christ needed to remain subject to the limitations of humanity. He could have created food in a moment, rather than relying on others to prepare His meals. He could have taken a pebble from the path and formed it into a delicious piece of fruit. He could have taken a leaf and drunk freely until He was satisfied.
Instead, when thirsty He asked the woman at the well for a drink. In her curiosity, she forgot about His needs and Christ went without. When desiring food, He searched for figs on a tree, and finding none, remained hungry.
In His own personal trials and temptations, the Saviour relied on power from His Father, and in quoting the Scriptures, He overcame the devil and man alike.
When in danger, Jesus did not defeat the enemy by a miracle, but “showed perfect confidence in His heavenly Father, that He would not suffer Him to be tempted above what He should give Him strength to endure…” 1
As a human being, Christ was subject to the process of aging and growing older. He could have “helped His human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from His divine nature vitality and undecaying vigor to the human”, but He did not.
He humbled Himself to man’s nature and capabilities. 2
“What humility was this! It amazed angels. The tongue can never describe it; the imagination cannot take it in.” 3
“As a member of the human family, Jesus was mortal; but as God, He was the Fountain of Life to the world.
He could in His divine person have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion.” 4
“Wondrous combination of man and of God!” 5
But as the Messiah – Yeshua ha Mashiach -- our Saviour’s work was to relieve the suffering, and this work was miraculous.
When He approached the sick and suffering, “disease fled at His touch, the blind saw, the deaf heard, demons were cast out, the dead were raised.” 6
“Christ was health and strength in Himself, and when sufferers were in His immediate presence, disease was always rebuked.” 7
As Jesus went from place to place, He blessed and comforted the suffering. “He sympathized with the weary, the heavy-laden, the oppressed. He fed the hungry and healed the sick.” 8
Multitudes flocked to see Him. “And they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.” 9
A woman approached Jesus. She sobbed out her great need, ‘Master, that thou wouldest heal my child.’ “Christ takes the little one from her arms, and disease flees at His touch. The pallor of death is gone; the life-giving current flows through the veins; the muscles receive strength.” 10
Then another case, just as urgent is presented. “Again Christ exercises His life-giving power, and all give praise and honor to Him who doeth wonderful things.” 11
His fame went throughout Judea, Galilee, Syria. Many came from afar to be healed. Whole towns were made well, so that not one person remained sick.
Near the close of His ministry, the message came to Jesus that his friend Lazarus was sick. Instead of going to him, Jesus waited until he had closed His eyes in death.
“Had Christ been in the sickroom, Lazarus would not have died; for Satan would have had no power over him. Death could not have aimed his dart at Lazarus in the presence of the Life-giver. Therefore Christ remained away.” 12
“The death of Lazarus was permitted that through his resurrection, the last and crowning evidence might be given to the Jews that Jesus was the Son of God.” 13
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” 14 In these words, He declared Himself the Author of the resurrection. 15
“He who Himself was soon to die upon the cross stood with the keys of death, a conqueror of the grave, and asserted His right and power to give eternal life.” 16
Jesus looked upon the crowds gathered at the home in Bethany. He sympathized with the bereaved, but His “prophetic eye” saw “the enmity of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He knew they were premeditating His death. He knew that some of those now apparently so sympathetic would soon close against themselves the door of hope and the gates of the city of God….
He saw Jerusalem compassed by the Roman legions. He knew that many now weeping for Lazarus would die in the siege of the city, and in their death there would be no hope.” 17
“Jesus wept”. 18
“It was not only because of the scene before Him that Christ wept. The weight of the grief of ages was upon Him. He saw the terrible effects of the transgression of God’s law…
He saw the suffering and sorrow, tears and death, that were to be the lot of men. His heart was pierced with the pain of the human family of all ages and in all lands. The woes of the sinful race were heavy upon His soul, and the fountain of His tears was broken up as He longed to relieve all their distress.” 19
Christ stands calmly before the tomb. He asks for the stone to be rolled away. When Martha protests, He says to her, ‘Why do you doubt My power? You have my word. If you still believe, you will see the glory of God.’20.
The command is again given, ‘Take the stone away.’ 21
“Natural impossibilities cannot prevent the work of the Omnipotent One. Scepticism and unbelief are not humility. Implicit belief in Christ’s word is true humility, true self-surrender.” 22
A sacred solemnity rests upon all present. Jesus steps closer to the sepulchre. “Lifting His eyes to heaven, He says, ‘Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me’…. Here Christ claims God as His Father, and with perfect confidence declares that He is the Son of God. In all that He did, Christ was co-operating with His Father. Ever He had been careful to make it evident that He did not work independently; it was by faith and prayer that He wrought His miracles. Christ desired all to know His relationship with His Father….
Here the disciples and people were to be given the most convincing evidence in regard to the relationship existing between Christ and God. They were to be shown that Christ’s claim was not a deception.” 23
“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” 24
“His voice, clear and penetrating, pierces the ear of the dead. As He speaks, divinity flashes through humanity. In His face, which is lighted up by the glory of God, the people see the assurance of His power. Every eye is fastened on the entrance to the cave. Every ear is bent to catch the slightest sound. With intense and painful interest all wait for the test of Christ’s divinity, the evidence that is to substantiate His claim to be the Son of God, or to extinguish the hope forever.” 25
Lazarus emerges from the tomb and casts himself in adoration at the feet of Jesus.
While family and friends are rejoicing, Jesus withdraws from the scene. “When they look for the Lifegiver, He is not to be found.” 26
“Christ’s miraculous power gave evidence that He was the Son of God. In the cities of Judah overwhelming evidence was given of the divinity and mission of Christ. When disease fled at His presence, and at His word Death was mastered and his prey wrested from His grasp, we would naturally suppose that none would turn from Christ, that all would gladly follow Him.
But prejudice is hard to deal with, even by Him who is Light and Truth, and the prejudice that filled the hearts of the Jews would not allow them to accept the evidence given.
With scorn they rejected the claims of Christ.” 27